Like the rest of the country, I woke this morning to the news of the 2016 election results. To say we were devastated is a complete understatement. The feelings of despair are so raw, it’s impossible to put into words.
It’s beyond comprehension that Hillary’s opponent was elected (he who will not be named – not out of fear, but because I don’t ever want his name to issue from my mouth). It’s partly disappointment and disillusionment that this country is still so sexist that it will not elect a woman who was eminently more qualified than her opponent; it’s partly the blatant lies the orange one told, but even more so, that so many were willing to buy into the lies wholeheartedly without questioning them; but it’s mostly that so many bigoted, ignorant white people were willing to ignore or excuse his boorish behavior, his meanness, his mean-spiritedness, his littleness. He will never be my president. He is undeserving of any respect. I cannot imagine what the future will look like these next four years.
That’s my anger and bitterness talking. It’s going to be a long time before that goes away, if it ever does. But if I do nothing with that anger, that bitterness, then what good is it? What good will come from it?
We recently watched the movie “Tomorrowland”, a film that did not get nearly enough attention in my opinion. It had a fantastic message. Near the beginning of the movie, the main character, Casey, reminds her father of a parable he had told her many times:
“There are two wolves, and they’re always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. Which wolf wins?”
Whichever wolf we feed wins.
My sister has texted me today about her own sadness and despair at having to explain to her young sons how America has come to this – how we could have elected someone like the orange one, someone who is exactly opposite all the values she and my brother-in-law have tried instill in their boys.
Which wolf will we feed? What kind of America will we get?
When people watch reality television and obsessively follow celebrities who contribute nothing positive to society (sex videos don’t count as acting), they are feeding the wrong wolf.
When people bully and harangue each other, hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, they are feeding the wrong wolf.
When people refuse to call our politicians on lies and half-truths, when they rally behind bigots and racists and misogynists because it makes them feel entitled to spew their own hatred, they are feeding the wrong wolf.
If any of us contributes in any way to the darkness and the despair, we are feeding the wrong wolf.
How do we feed the right wolf – the one of light and hope?
Fellow author Cindy Rizzo wrote a beautiful post earlier today urging people to work for all of the things that we hold dear: hold your loved ones close; embrace your faith, if you have one; work to support the elderly and the homeless; work to save the environment; do what you can with whatever resources you can.
Every single social justice and environmental cause is going to need our energy and support more than ever before.
Together, we can feed the right wolf. We can bring light and hope to a world that is desperately going to need it over the next four years.